I received a lot of feedback from my last blog post on traffic congestion in downtown Miami and Brickell. Coincidentally, traffic was the big topic of discussion this month at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Goals Conference, an annual planning retreat of business leaders focused on ‘the opportunities and challenges facing South Florida. I liked what I heard and would like to share with you some valuable suggestions to ease downtown traffic that were identified by former Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Chairman Bruce Colan, along with some thoughts of my own:
• The City of Miami needs permanent traffic enforcement squads to enforce the laws already in place.
• The City has a number of “DON’T BLOCK THE BOX” signs at intersections. Those also need to be enforced.
• The City needs to start penalizing for random stopping or parking in no stopping or standing lanes, or double-parking that block traffic lanes. Our Local comic commentator Dave Barry is fond of saying that “everyone in Miami is very careful to obey all of the traffic laws…from their country of origin.” The combination of out-of-town visitors, delivery trucks, construction and the diversity of our international community make traffic enforcement seriously important.
• Commercial deliveries to downtown and Brickell should be banned during rush hour. To avoid clogging traffic during the recent concrete deliveries to our SLS Lux Brickell project, we brought 300 concrete trucks into Brickell Avenue for our major concrete pour that took place on Saturday from 1:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in the morning. No one in Brickell even knew such a major construction event happened.
• The City needs to install the new generation of adaptive traffic signals that respond to actual traffic demand in real time.
• The illegal bridge openings on the Miami River must be stopped. The Coast Guard is not enforcing the rules and the illegal bridge openings bring traffic to a halt in downtown and Brickell.
• In addition to Colan’s suggestions, some other good ideas that came out of our transportation discussion were:
• The two lanes that have been closed to traffic on or approaching the Brickell Bridge must be re-opened. The closure is creating unnecessary bottlenecks on Brickell Avenue and on the Brickell Bridge.
• We also have an opportunity to create an exit from the traffic on Brickell Avenue by connecting SE 10th Street from Brickell Avenue to SW 2nd Avenue under the Metrorail, which will reduce the load on 7th street and Coral Way and allow drivers an escape route from the gridlock.
These are some immediate and concrete solutions to solve the problems in our bustling and growing downtown. There is no denying that the current frenzy of building in downtown and Brickell are adding greatly to the traffic situation. Hopefully, in a few years the building boom will quiet down and the result will be a much safer and less dense traffic pattern. In the meantime, if the City of Miami and developers can work together to achieve the list of solutions outlined above, that will go a long way in making the drive through downtown and Brickell more pleasant for all.